Ms Funder is working on a new novel and is also among a group of authors who have contributed to a new anthology about dispossession – A Country Too Far, edited by Tom Keneally and Rosie Scott.

The Melbourne-born writer said Australia had successful multicultural policies that were reflected in society, but that she was saddened by the recent treatment of asylum seekers.

“It saddens me to think we are not recognising people who have an absolute legal right, a human right, to come and seek asylum here and we are denying them that, that we are locking up men, women and children in prison camps and they haven’t done anything wrong,” she said.

A former constitutional lawyer, Ms Funder criticised the Government’s legal action to prevent asylum seekers landing in Australia.

“The absurdity of excising mainland Australia from the Migration Act that would allow them to claim asylum boggles my mind and makes me very sad,” she said.